Big Brother and U: Is Your University Reading Your Email?
By Jonathan Bean • Saturday January 31, 2009 6:07 PM PDT • 2 Comments
For many years, I have fought restrictions on academic freedom. As President of the Illinois Association of Scholars, an affiliate of the National Association of Scholars (NAS), I deal with these issues across the state. As a historian I am researching the past record of civil liberties on college campuses.
In a word, I have lost my capacity to be shocked at what some will do to others within the Ivory Tower of higher education.
While the issues remain the same, the techniques used to restrict academic liberty change. It might be a new area of law (sexual harassment codes) or a new technology (should college libraries censor Internet content)?
This column deals with a new reality that shocks people when they find out that their university may be reading their email, watching their screen activity, or even punishing students, staff or faculty for what they write on Facebook.
Most people are shocked when they learn how vulnerable they are to electronic surveillance. Consider this a primer on learning the tactics of surveillance and how to avoid becoming a victim of it....